always been

But I never set out to be a photographer. I was (and still am!) going to be a writer. And then as I worked toward that writing goal, someone put a camera in my hand and asked me to try telling stories with something besides words. So with an English nerd's love for character and tone, a romantic's love for poignant beauty, and a realist's love for imperfection, I dove in.

meet LAURA

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always been a

That was back in 2010.

Since that time, photography has changed much of my life. It's brought me some of my dearest friends. It's reshaped the way my husband Danny and I view serving others. It has even literally taken me around the world. One thing that hasn't changed: my soul-stirring desire to tell stories that feel so real you're sure you knew them before you heard them. Or saw them. It's my privilege to tell those stories for my clients, and for the generations of their families still to come.

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Why Family Portraits are a Great Part of Any Vacation

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Recently, my inbox has almost exploded with inquiries from families, couples, and high school seniors coming to Daytona Beach, or Ormond Beach, or New Smyrna Beach for vacations. These are people who don’t live near the ocean and want some gorgeous portraits to remember their time at the beach. And I love that! The happiness and togetherness we feel when we’re on vacation is something we should remember.

So I thought I would share a few tips for families considering booking vacation portraits in the Daytona Beach area!1.) Ask your photographer’s advice before you make up your mind . . . on just about anything.

This is big. Huge. Enormous.

I share advice with all my prospective portrait clients, but it’s especially important for people traveling from out of town. So if you’re not familiar with the area, get your photographer’s recommendations . . . on just about everything: the ideal time(s) of day for a shoot, the ideal timing during your vacation for a shoot (because there is an ideal!), the ideal location(s) that will provide the kind of backdrop and experience that you’re looking for, and the ideal way to dress and what to bring to your session so you’ll have the best experience possible.

Here’s why asking your photographer’s advice can be so crucial: do you want to shoot your family portraits while dodging cars driving on the beach, and with Speedo-clad sunbathers as part of your backdrop, or do you want a quieter, less-trafficked stretch of sand? Do you want to shoot on a beach where you can legally bring your dog along? Do you want to capture both beach pictures, but also some photos at a nearby non-beachy location that looks quintessentially Floridian? Do you want to minimize your chances of having your session rescheduled (or cancelled altogether, if you’re about to leave town) due to dangerous lightning in the area?

Those are all things I help my clients navigate to ensure a smooth, productive session that results in the photographs they want!2.) Remember that your portraits will last a lifetime.

Just like a day trip to Disney or climbing to the top of the Ponce De Leon Lighthouse, a family portrait session during vacation is a part of your vacation, and I want it to be a fun part! But what you get out of a portrait session lasts a lot longer than the amount of time it takes to create. And a lot longer than your vacation, too.

While booking a portrait session is an expense that may not have been a part of your original vacation budget calculations, keep in mind that family vacation portraits aren’t really different from  “regular” family portraits, except that they’re not taken in your hometown: these are photographs that will hang on your family’s walls, showcase your relationships and personalities, and which will be passed down as family heirlooms for decades to come. So if a portrait session at the beach is important to you but it doesn’t technically fit within your vacation budget — keep in mind, this is one vacation expense that isn’t just a vacation expense.3.) Vacation portraits don’t always have to mean getting dressed up fancy for the camera.

If you’re all about playtime at the beach — then let’s capture that, too!4.) Scheduling your vacation activities around beach portraits is worth it. Really.

Sunrise and sunset are prime shooting time, especially at the beach. Yes, that means either an early wakeup or a late dinner — but it’s hard to argue with the results.5.) If you’ve been wanting to schedule a portrait session but just haven’t pulled the trigger, vacation is the perfect time to do it.

Why is vacation a great time for portraits?

Because you’re already making memories you will want to hold onto. And on vacation, you’ll be happy and relaxed, enjoying yourself, and your mind will feel freed from the distractions and problems of everyday life. All of this will show up when you step in front of the camera: you’ll look happy, relaxed, and like you’re enjoying yourself!

Plus, if you don’t live near the beach . . . it really does make a spectacular setting.

6.) Having beautiful, fun, personality-driven portraits created is always worth it, whether or not you’re on vacation. But especially on vacation.

One family I recently photographed during their stay in Florida told me they make a point of having two portrait sessions per year. They want to record every stage of their time together, and that makes me so happy. Until I became a professional photographer, regularly chronicling relationships wasn’t something that hadn’t even occurred to me. And when I was growing up, lifestyle photography — what I do, capturing families interacting naturally, outside of a studio environment — wasn’t something anyone did. At least that I knew of.

But I wish I had lifestyle portraits from when I was growing up, especially during our summers out of state. Those “vacations” (they were workations for my dad, vacations for me!) were such a formative part of my childhood. Although we have snapshots of my brother and me, it would be even better if I could relive some of those experiences in some of my favorite places through photographs of our whole family having fun together.

Lifestyle family portraiture wasn’t a common concept when I was a kid in the ’90s. It is now. And now that it is, I don’t think any family should miss out. Especially during the formative parts of childhood kids will look back on happily — but with fuzzy memories, because young brains don’t always hold onto the details. Truthfully, neither do grown-up brains! But that’s where a having a professional photographer join your family for a day comes in: you won’t have to do all the remembering.
Are you vacationing in Daytona Beach or the surrounding area? I would love to help you preserve your memories of your trip, and create some new family heirlooms with you in the process!

~ Laura

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